You'll Like The 2008 Land Rover LR2 If...
If you favor tradition with lots of modern topspin, being able to carry an impressive payload of people and/or cargo in style and comfort and the ability to keep going far beyond where the pavement ends, an LR2 should be high on your list.
You May Not Like The 2008 Land Rover LR2 If...
If you're a hard-core off-roading fanatic who regularly spends weekends negotiating the great untamed wilderness in low-range crawl mode, pass on the LR2 in favor of a more dedicated go-anywhere alternative like Land Rover's own LR3, a Nissan Xterra or a Toyota FJ Cruiser.
While a nominal replacement for the Freelander, Land Rover's all-new LR2 represents a huge leap, in quality, performance and luxury, that makes it a far more compelling total-value statement in a segment that's becoming increasingly more crowded.
You'll find plenty of Land Rover heritage inside the LR2 as well, but it far surpasses the departed Freelander with respect to design, materials and build quality. Although barely three inches longer than the Freelander, the LR2 gains almost four inches in wheelbase, which leads to a considerably larger cabin with adult-friendly seating space in the front and rear quarters. Both seat-up and seat-down cargo capacities have been increased by over 25 percent, and the rear bay is easily accessed by a large, one-piece rear hatch with a bumper-level cutout. Legible gauges and fairly intuitive positioning of main controls, plus loads of cup and bottle holders, covered and open stow areas and dual 12-volt powerpoints further add to its charm as a daily driver.
Although softened a bit around its edges, the LR2's angular sheetmetal still displays numerous current-generation corporate cues, highlighted by front and rear lamp designs and functional side vents reminiscent of the Range Rover Sport, and a subtle LR3-style rear roofline kickup. Despite short front and rear overhangs and 8.3-inches of ground clearance, that enhance the LR2's off-road capabilities, entry and exit to both front and rear seats is a low-stress exercise. Its large glass area - including a dual-panel panoramic sunroof - aid outward visibility and enhance the feeling of spaciousness. The package is aggressively anchored by standard 18-inch alloy wheels mounting V-rated 235/60 all-season performance tires.
The LR2 is a solid and confident cruiser, with the muscle to run zero to 60 miles per hour in a claimed 8.4 seconds and the ability to pull a 4,400-pound trailer. Its six-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts in either mode, and the "intelligent" all-wheel-drive system that can instantly transfer power between either axle is bolstered by a comprehensive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) package, traction control and powerful four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS). Add in a sophisticated Roll Stability Control system, Terrain Response System programming (that adapts for all types of paved or unpaved surfaces) and Land Rover's patented Gradient Release Control and Hill Descent Control, and you end up with an SUV that's amazingly poised, regardless of how or where you travel.
The Land Rover LR2 SE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $34,700. Currently, buyers are paying the full amount for their vehicles, but Fair Purchase Prices, that represent prices consumers are actually paying at any given moment, can differ substantially, so click on the Fair Purchase Prices to compare. Land Rover/Range Rover vehicles have historically maintained fairly strong residuals compared to other entrants in their segments. Being far superior to the old Freelander in virtually every area, the LR2 can be expected to more closely match its more upscale kin when it comes to retaining a significant percentage of its original value over time.
The multifaceted LR2 bolsters its impressive mechanical roster of all-wheel drive, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Terrain Response System, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Hill Descent Control/Gradient Release Control with numerous people-pleasing touches. Topping the list are a host of power assists, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, nine-speaker AM/FM/MP3 sound system with six-disc CD changer, Eucalyptus wood or metallic-look accent trim, power front bucket seats, 60/40 flat-folding rear bench seat, panoramic sunroof with a front sliding element and fixed rear glass, cruise control, rear park assist, front and rear foglights, headlamp washers and rain-sensing wipers. Passive restraints include dual front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, plus an inflatable driver's knee bolster.
With its extensive array of standard features, the list of LR2 factory extras is decidedly brief. The Technology Package includes a DVD-based touch-screen satellite navigation system, Bluetooth hands-free integrated cell phone, a 12-speaker Alpine/Dolby Pro Logic II 7.1 Surround Sound audio system, rear-seat audio controls and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The Lighting Package brings corner-following bi-xenon HID Adaptive Front Lighting, memory driver's seat and mirrors and approach and puddle lamps. Finally, a Cold Climate Package adds heating to the front seats, windshield and windshield washers. Custom Narvik Black paint is available from the factory, while dealers offer 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 235/55 tires.
Terrain Response System
This exclusive Land Rover standard feature matches up throttle, transmission, anti-lock brakes and ESP programming, by using one of four different computer algorithms that optimize power delivery characteristics, no matter what kind of surface you're driving on - from grass to snow to sand to plain old pavement.
Excellent Interior Space
In keeping with a longstanding Land Rover tradition, the LR2's cabin is roomy and flexible. The rear seat can comfortably accommodate two adults or three children, and folds flat to expand cargo capacity from 26.5 cubic feet to a maximum 58.9 cubic feet of space.
Under the Hood
Powering the LR2 is a 3.2-liter DOHC in-line six coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. Shared with Volvo, this compact, all-aluminum engine features a variable intake system, Cam Profile Switching (CPS) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) that optimize its responsiveness. In the LR2 it also receives additional modifications to improve resistance to dust, mud and water intrusions, as well as supplemental oil pan baffling to ensure consistent lubrication when the LR2 is being driven on severe inclines. The new six-speed automatic transmission is a solid match, providing both a Sport mode that holds gears longer for quicker acceleration and a CommandShift gate that lets it function like a sequential manual gearbox.
3.2-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
234 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29
Replacing the gone-and-easily forgotten Freelander, last sold here in 2005, Land Rover's all-new LR2 is the first corporate offering designed primarily for U.S consumers. This premium compact four-door SUV is based on Ford's versatile C1 unit-body architecture, but displays a bold character that's uniquely Land Rover, includes seating for five and is powered by a strong six-cylinder engine. Although it lacks a dual-range transfer case and air suspension, the LR2's slick full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) package and Land Rover's sophisticated Terrain Response System make it an extremely capable, all-season on/off-roader. Available only in well-appointed SE trim, the LR2's most direct competition will come from other upscale active-lifestyle vehicles like the Acura RDX and BMW X3. However, its mid-$30,000 price point means buyers will have plenty of other new "crossovers" to cross-shop.